George Osborne spent his six years as Chancellor slashing benefits for the sick, poor and elderly – but he didn’t seem to have any problem accepting a handout from the state today.
It came in the form a BBC-funded reporter for the Evening Standard newspaper which he has edited since quitting as an MP amid criticism over his many lucrative sidelines.
The BBC is funding contracts for 150 journalists to cover local councils in a bid to improve scrutiny of town halls.
Most of the reporters will be working for newspaper groups who created the problem in the first place by slashing staff to protect profits for shareholders.
If that wasn’t ironic enough, one BBC-funded reporter will also work for Osborne’s Evening Standard.
In his 2015 budget, Osborne effectively cut the Beeb’s budget by £650 million a year by forcing them to pick up the bill for TV licenses for pensioners without allocating any extra funding.
That’s £1.3 billion over five years.
Justifying the move at the time, Osborne said: “The BBC is publicly funded and so it does need to make savings and contribute to what we need to do as a country”.
Osborne should practice what he preaches, pay back the money to the BBC and let the Standard’s billionaire owner pick up the tab for his new reporter…